Litigation is a game of strategy. Courts that value the amount in controversy solely by the plaintiff’s viewpoint encourage plaintiffs to engage in gamesmanship and forum shopping, which unfairly prejudices defendants. In light of the ambiguity of the removal statutes and the lack of clear precedent, the federal circuits have diverged in the debate over which viewpoints deserve consideration in removal actions. The three general approaches are to consider: (1) only the plaintiff’s viewpoint, (2) the viewpoint of the party seeking federal jurisdiction, and (3) the viewpoint of either party. This Law Summary suggests that the amount in controversy should be determined according to the viewpoint of either party, where either the value to the plaintiff or the cost to the defendant can be used to establish the jurisdictional amount.

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